Mourinho is more popular than any of the players: Five things we learned from Chelsea 3 Sunderland 1
Jose Mourinho is universally adored at Stamford Bridge, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard are blamed for the former’s manager downfall and other things we learned from Chelsea 3 Sunderland 1
Jose is universally loved by home faithful
He might have twice been handed his P45 by Chelsea but Mourinho’s legacy at Stamford Bridge is secure. Supporters made it abundantly clear the esteem in which the Portugese is held with their universal support in the first match since his dismissal. They sung his name before kick-off and throughout the game, held aloft banners in support and all sprang to their feet minutes into the game as the chant of ‘Stand up for the Special One’ rang around Stamford Bridge. Jose is still special in the eyes of the fans.
Costa and Fabregas blamed for Mourinho demise
The message from the Chelsea fans at a mutinous Stamford Bridge was clear. They believe Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas played a major role in Mourinho’s downfall. As the Portugese’s name echoed around the ground before kick-off, Costa and Fabregas were notably booed when the team sheet was read out by the stadium announcer, while Willian was given rapturous applause. With fans vocal in their support of Mourinho, one banner read: “You let Jose down, you let us down.” Another was even more emphatic. Costa, Fabregas and Hazard were dubbed ‘the three rats’. When Fabregas was substituted after 70 minutes, the response was a mix of muted applause and jeers. When Costa was hooked five minutes later after another disappointing display, the boos were more audible and a chant of ‘Jose Mourinho’ reverberated around the stadium.
Drogba has Roman’s ear
Stories about a senior role for Didier Drogba at Chelsea have gathered pace in recent days and they were given further momentum by the ex-Blues strikers’ appearance in Abramovich’s executive box on Saturday afternoon. Flanked on either side by the owner and interim manager Guus Hiddink, the 37-year-old demonstrated that he could be part of new power axis at the Bridge. However, a major role in the short term is unlikely as Drogba is still banging in the goals for Montreal Impact in the MLS.
Ivanovic can still score crucial goals
No Chelsea player has been more wretched this season than Branislav Ivanovic, and he was among those jeered before kick-off as the fans rounded on a number of the under-performing regulars. His emphatic early goal to set the home side on their way may have raised an eyebrow of a certain Portugese gentleman who has watched the right-back be a shadow of his former self this season.
Courtois is one of few home players in fans’ good books
Thibaut Courtois’ three-month injury absence this season, and his solid form either side of that period, means he has escaped the criticism heaped on the rest of his under-performing colleagues. One of the few home players in the fans’ good books, Courtois made some important second-half saves as Sunderland built some pressure and carved out some decent opportunities after Fabio Borini had given them a lifeline. Unlike some of his team-mates, the Belgian can look himself in the shaving mirror and not feel embarrassed.